When you join a group at work, school, or any other activity there are stages that the group goes through. The Tuckman model talks about the stages of group development and outlines this process.
Stages of Group Development
Forming is the first stage where you have just joined a group. So for example, if you take a course with lots of group work this will be where there is most reliance on the professor. If you join a group at work this is where there will be the most reliance on the leader. Everyone will be tippy-toeing around trying to figure out what the expectations and relying heavily on the leader to give instructions. This is much like when we are a baby trying to figure things out. This is the stage where differences will be focused on.
Storming is the stage where identity becomes an issue. Everyone is trying to hold onto their identity. There might be a power struggle where one person becomes hostile. This is much like adolescence. In this stage, cliques start to form. Two people might have bonded and formed a connection.
Norming is generally where the guidelines and groups are set. In this stage, one person might be vulnerable and honest and share their true feelings and this brings the group together. The previous group that was focusing only on their needs changes into the group coming together. Norming is like young adulthood where you establishing your guidelines for life.
The group is working at its best people are understanding each other’s needs and working for the betterment of the group. They are solving problems together. The group cares about their common goal and together achieving it. This is like adulthood.
This is the end stage where you say goodbye. Some people might have separation anxiety at this stage or unanswered questions. At this stage, the coach should take control and give a sort of closure and wrap things up. This can be with having the members give each other feedback and talk about how far they have come. Adjourning is like old age where you look over the highlights of your life.
Not every group will go through every stage some will miss a step or move on in the cycle. But these are the basic stages of group dynamics.
Think of a group you have been part of and reflect on whether the group went through these stages.
Are you thinking of organising a group? Understanding group dynamics will help you out!
Reference: The New Dynamics of Life Skills Coaching